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Harford Manor School


Our Curriculum Statement

This page summarises information from our 'Whole School Curriculum Document' to provide an overview of our intentions for each pupils learning, the implementation of our curriculum and how we monitor its impact on learning. However if you would prefer to view the document in full it can be found below.Harford Manor School Curriculum Document

INTENT: What are we trying to achieve with our curriculum?

To Be Truly LayingFoundations for the Future” we have built a rich curriculum focused on teaching our pupils to become independent and valued members of the community, at school and beyond.  We have focused on our pupils’ willingness to engage with learning and their ability to regulate themselves with decreasing support.  We have concentrated on instilling them with confidence in their ability to communicate as their skills progress and to build resilience as they explore and experience the wide range of activities and opportunities on offer to them.

All pupils are given opportunities to achieve the highest level of independence possible. Pupils learn best when learning is related to their own experience. Some may learn best through play; others will learn more effectively through functional skill based activities, and using a topic-based approach allows all these to be incorporated. 

A developmental perspective informs the curriculum at Harford Manor, where the starting point is each individual learner. The curriculum areas address the priority areas relating to the development of young people with SLD: communication, problem-solving, self-regulation and independence. Many similarities and links can be seen with the prime areas of the EYFS Curriculum but also includes the Autism Education Trust Progression Framework and of course appropriate aspects of The National Curriculum. To ensure we are building on previous learning there is a high level of structure and we need to ensure we avoid making the curriculum too abstract, we approach this by teachers linking learning to practical activities and ensuring skills learnt are functional for the pupils. This can then be consolidated and applied in practical sessions, generalised to a range of settings, with a range of people, in a variety of contexts  before we move the concepts forward to ensure true understanding rather than just rote learning.

Older pupils also pursue relevant accreditation pathways.

There needs to be breadth of learning throughout pupils’ time at school. There is a variation in experiences within a topic, whilst still ensuring that the learning is developmentally appropriate and scaffolded in such a way as to enable true skill development, e.g. fluency, independence, generalisation and maintenance (MAPP)

Each pupil drives the direction and content of their own ‘curriculum’.  Whilst there are whole school topics the planning, learning approaches and delivery will differ between classes.   Priorities based on PLG, identified barriers to learning, pupils’ age, need, motivation and learning style will all help build the differentiation and personalisation in the curriculum.  


IMPLEMENTATION: How do we deliver our curriculum?

How do we approach learning with our students?

To be ready to learn...

It is essential that our pupils are regulated and able to engage.  To ensure this we utilise The Zones of Regulation and spend time on sensory tools and circuits. Short successful practical sessions and high motivators and rewards enable our pupils to be as engaged as possible.  

To be as independent as possible...

Our pupils need support in many areas of their lives; however they need to be skilfully supported to be as independent as they can be.  Independence is often read as independence in self-care skills.  These are of course valuable and desirable, but our first goal is to enable pupils to be independent in their play, actions and discoveries. For our pupils to develop and progress it is important that their actions need to be their own.  Our staff are there to enable this.  We need to ensure that our pupils do not develop 'learned helplessness'.

The role of play…

Play will be taught every day both in and out of the classroom.

Functions of play

  • To learn new skills in a safe environment
  • To explore own body and senses and the surrounding world
  • To develop a safe understanding of emotions of both self and others
  • To experience interaction with others
  • To develop flexibility of thought
  • To develop Theory of Mind


In order for the moment of discovery to come and real learning to occur, our pupils need us to wait and to be given the time and space to process and discover. 

Our pupils are given an appropriate amount of time for their learning needs, not only in readiness to learn, but within each action.  

 This moment of discovery needs to be enabled and allowed.


Repetition is key to building our pupils' skills and understanding; within the structure of the day, sessions throughout the term and within the session itself. 'Burst-pause' and its repetition within most sessions give pupils the opportunity to communicate their preference.  In order to progress, our pupils need to revisit activities frequently to consolidate their learning.  

Appropriate and meaningful communication...

Communication is at the heart of everything we do. The curriculum includes frequent opportunities for the pupils to develop their communication skills, from being reactive to finding alternative ways to communicate with intent. 

What does our Curriculum look like?

Our student's 'learning journey' is depicted in the flow diagram below:

Curriculum Progression Flow Chart

Our curriculum is split into 6 core areas or 'strands', that each cover specific areas of learning whilst interweaving to provide opportunities for a cross-curricular approach and dynamic lesson planning within each of our half termly topics. 

These 6 curriculum strands are explained in the document below:

The Harford Manor Strands

Within these 6 core strand areas are sub categories of learning, each with their own unique 10 step development pathway called the 'Harford Manor Steps'. Our students do not necessarily work through these steps in a linear way and a best fit approach, suitable for each individual child is always taken. Below you will find our Harford Manor Steps curriculum document.

The Harford Steps

Pupil focused outcomes and learning goals are also derived from other sources, such as The 'Autism Education Trust' and 'OCR Life and Living Skills', and there are links below to find out further information about these programmes of learning.
OCR Life and Living SkillsAutistic Education Trust (AET)

Much of the learning is through play and practical activities such as shopping, cooking and community access.

All classes have regular access into the local community for learning activities. These sessions provide lots of opportunity for cross-curricular links and enable pupils to understand how the skills they are learning can be used in real life contexts. Learning in this way supports many pupils who are ‘switched off’ by more formal teaching to engage in their learning

Throughout the school, there is a focus on the Characteristics of Effective Learning from EYFS:

  • Playing and Exploring
  • Active Learning
  • Creating and Thinking Critically

The rigour in writing each pupil’s Personalised Learning Goal  (based on the outcomes in the pupil’s Education, Health and Care plan) ensures that there is a clear focus for each pupil’s learning and the curriculum is the vehicle for delivering this.

Staffing levels within classes are based on the needs of the pupils in the class. Staff training is focused on the needs of the pupils and includes training in areas such as mental and emotional health, Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), Attention Autism, Intensive Interactions, play therapy, sensory processing, TEACCH, Jolly Phonics, Talk Tools, Zones of Regulation. Further details regarding some of these approaches can be found using the links below.

Alternative and Augmentative Communication

Attention Autism

Intensive Interaction

Play Therapy

Sensory Processing


Jolly Phonics

Talk Tools

The Zones of Regulation

Where needed, school accesses external resources and environments to enhance the learning that takes place on site e.g. Sports at the local university, swimming off-site, shopping, café visits, use of a local gym, horse-riding.

Thematic Learning...

The curriculum at Harford Manor is cross-curricular. We have established a cycle of themes that covers four years. At our curriculum’s core is ‘What our pupils need to learn’. This thematic learning is the means of delivering this. This is the means through which PLGs and core skills are worked on. Those planning will ensure that there is a balance throughout the year and the choice of themes is designed to incorporate this.








Year 1

To Infinity & Beyond

What a Performance

Where in the world?


Health and Body

Water Water Everywhere

Year 2

Home sweet Home

Remember Remember


Cycle of Life

Recycling/Green Issues

We’re all going on a Summer Holiday

Year 3

Knowing Me Knowing You

Let’s Celebrate


Road trip

World Religions

Work and Play


Year 4

Then and Now

Magic & Mystery

A Sensory World

The Seasons


Journey to the Centre of the Earth

Curriculum Content Overview

Below you will find 'quick links' to our termly topic curriculum overviews, published by each class for the academic year so far. 

Quick Link | Primary Curriculum  Quick Link | Secondary Curriculum Quick Link | Post 16

IMPACT: How do we know if it is working?

The curriculum is monitored and evaluated to ensure that it is working, through a rigorous quality assurance process. Each pupil’s progress is discussed as part of the teacher’s appraisal/performance management. Pupil progress meetings take place with the members of the SLT at least twice a year and include discussion around assessments, targets, work scrutiny and observation/pupil voice.

School uses a ‘basket of indicators’ to capture the full picture of pupil progress. The range of measures and assessments used are different across the key stages in school.

 These measures include:

  • Termly PLG based on priorities in pupils’ EHC plans for all pupils
  • Earwig Evidence & Learning Journeys
  • End of Year Reports
  • EYFS small steps
  • Mapping and Assessing Personal Progress
  • Behaviour data
  • Personal care and independent living records e.g. eating or toileting records
  • Therapy targets
  • Learning Journeys
  • Externally accredited courses e.g. entry levels
  • Annual Reviews
  • Pre- Key stage standards.
  • Statutory Testing when appropriate (Phonics testing for example)
  • Harford Manor Steps

Please use the 'quick links' below to find out more about assessment at Harford Manor, how we celebrate achievements and life beyond school for our pupils.

Quick Link | Assessment Data     Quick Link | Careers Information

Quick Link | Achievements


Anyone wanting to find out more about the curriculum we offer is welcome to contact us, speaking to Kathy or Gail in our school office in the first instance using the contact details below.

Telephone | 01603 451809

Email |